Two Poems by Betsy Mars

Kavod HaMet*

I circle among my dead,
trying not to neglect anyone.
What can I say of those
I have never known?
Even my mother eludes me,
her mind ever hidden
in shadows. We all flee
when we imagine danger,
acquiring a taste
for what can be carried,
the weight of the unrisen.

*honoring the dead


Bearing Water

To wash dust from jagged leaves
I turn the hose on the hibiscus.
Shriveled flowers fall to dirt,
water drips into soil, roots
reach for a sip, when suddenly
a moth, its rusty wings heavy
with moisture, fanning the same water
into steam, flutters to the earth,
damned while new buds open.
Some feel my intentions as mercy,
others nearly drown.


Betsy Mars practices poetry, photography, pet maintenance, and publishes an occasional anthology through Kingly Street Press. Her second anthology, Floored, is now available on Amazon. In 2020, her poem was selected as a winner in Alexandria Quarterly´s first line poetry contest series. In addition, she was a semi-finalist in the Jack Grapes poetry contest as well as the Poetry Super Highway annual contest. Her work has recently appeared in Sky Island Journal, Kissing Dynamite, Better Than Starbucks, and Gyroscope among others. She is the author of Alinea (Picture Show Press) and co-author of In the Muddle of the Night with Alan Walowitz (Arroyo Seco Press).

Two Poems by Mark Saba

Flowers in the Dark

The young man holding flowers
delivered our food in three boxes.
Loose potatoes and apples, lettuce

partially wrapped beside a box of butter,
berries, almonds, and Greek cheese.
He wasn’t sure which flowers we liked

so bought three: one, wrapped tulips
and two alstroemeria. Did we like
the purple or peach? He stood

in his buttoned rust jacket, a shadow
of the boy who graduated with my son
six years ago, now a generation

of wise old youth holding flowers
for their elders. Which one don’t you want
he asked. It will look nice

in my apartment. He stood there
six feet away in the dark
having delivered our groceries

holding a bouquet of flowers
that I’m not sure he really wanted
or knew what to do with

once back to his other world
the one without flowers
or any place to put them.


The Broken

My brother, my daughter, my father,
my wife. A cloudy eye, piece of leg
and vanishing arm.

An asymmetry in stride, an upbeat cheek
adjacent to uncertain lips.
The visitors come whole, hoping to embrace

the broken pieces of those they’d once known
but have been disassembled
as they try to reconstruct.

Outside, under searing light,
the rehab grounds remain dressed
in autumn finery: greens and golds

atop fiery trees, a harboring mountain,
glass-walled rooms that look out
and allow a looking in. My son,

my husband, my sister, my dear friend.
We hold the pieces of you
and let the pieces fall.


Mark Saba has been writing fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction for 40 years. His book publications include four works of fiction and three of poetry, most recently Two Novellas: A Luke of All Ages / Fire and Ice (fiction), Calling the Names (poetry) and Ghost Tracks (stories about Pittsburgh, where he grew up). Saba’s work has appeared widely in literary magazines around the U.S. and abroad. His is also a painter, and works as a medical illustrator at Yale University. Please see